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February 19, 2016 15:43

The average car buyer in India, is slowly waking up the idea of hybrid cars becoming a viable option in recent years. But public knowledge by and large is limited to the fact that these dual-powered vehicles are more fuel efficient than their conventionally powered, gasoline only counterparts.

Quiz people further on hybrid car technology, how these vehicles function and only a select few will be able to elaborate on the same. The underlying thought process behind hybrid cars is the same, have an electric motor along with a gasoline one in the same car. The said motors can either be used in tandem or the electric motor can be used singularly. A battery pack is wired to the electric motor, which draws power from it as and when needed. The battery pack in turn is charged via the gasoline motor and through energy recovery mechanisms, like the energy lost during braking, for example.

Futuristically speaking, pure-electric cars or even alternate fuelled ones, such as hydrogen cars or solar vehicles appear to be the solution in the long term. However, for now, hybrid cars will have to do. They offer the best advantage towards improving fuel efficiencies, while reducing tail-pipe emissions. Hybrid cars also do not have the range limitations of their pure-electric counterparts.

Electric motors do offer a few advantages of their own. They make their power near-instantaneously. There is no lag like there is in a gasoline motor. Offering the full-power range from standstill means that acceleration can be brisk. They are also have lesser number of moving parts, so wear and tear is lower and maintenance costs are minimized. All this is great but the big challenge lies in storage.

Battery technology has typically lagged being most existing requirements – the less said about the ones in the future the better. Industry players are engaged in a frenetic battle to unlock the secrets to stable, long term storage of energy, for the winner shall be eligible for riches that can’t be measured. Battery packs also take up a lot of space in hybrid cars and bring along considerable weight gains with them. Moreover, batteries are also subject to greater risks in the case of accidents. So safety must be thought out in an extensive manner. Batteries usually die out & the ones used in automobiles, frequently so, due to the constant charge & discharge nature of operations. Thus there is a replacement cost to be factored in as well.

In the end, the planet can’t really wait till we’ve figured it all out. So this means that hybrid car technology offers the best possible solution to efficient mobility, at-least in the near future.

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